Case in point the November 1989 issue, seen below. The magazine itself was of a rather high-quality, if a bit thin, with full-color glossy pages. It no doubt had a very small audience reach. Back in 1989, the newsstand price was a shocking $14.95 (which would be like $30 in 2017 dollars - more than most hard-back books). You could get an annual subscription for $69.95 ($120 in 2017) for 6 issues. And the price was likely as high as it was because there was scant advertising - another reason the magazine was so thin, but not a bad thing necessarily from a consumer standpoint. Although, to be honest, I rather liked the advertising in the older tech magazines as it helped to inform me more deeply about the scene at the time.
This particular issue came with 2 disks, and I think most if not all did as well. My issue still has its disks entombed in their never-opened original plastic wrap, wondering if they’ll ever get used. (Probably not.) And here’s another indicator that tells me this magazine was a very small operation.
On one of the disks, the label apparently had a mis-print and someone at the magazine corrected it by hand with a pen. No doubt they manually corrected all of them that were ever shipped out. Even if their distribution was only a few thousand, that must have been a fun job.
One fascinating piece of history worth noting is the Editor’s column, written at the time by a man named Jay Gross. Keep in mind this is being published in November of 1989, which means it was likely written two months prior (that’s typically how long it takes a printed mag to get to store shelves from beginning to end). So this would have been crafted sometime near the end of the summer of ’89.
The column is such an interesting, desperate rant (if not the best-written), I’ve transcribed it here, word for word. I put it here, because for me personally, I had no idea feelings this raw were as out in the open this early (pre-1990s). A surprising and weird plea for Unix is tucked in near the end, for any of you Linux fans.
Jay is really disgusted with CBM in general - four years after acquiring Amiga - and begs for an acquisition (or, more accurately, free millions to make Amiga mighty). This was in 1989.
Jay Gross, the editor of A.X. Magazine, touches on some of what is going on in the Amiga community. Or rather, perhaps what should be going on.
Oh, how unfair life is.
First, there are these rumors, bandied about by reasonably trustworthy sources, that Commodore’s about to get bought out by a real company. Wonderful news! Then, disappointment. Nobody has announced any buyout plans, and nobody seems even the vaguest bit interested in doing so. Still, everything has pointed to a buyout being in the making. Everything? Consider these points:
- Commodore is a miserable failure at marketing anything they sell in today’s market, even the 8-bit machines which made their name a household word. Blunder after blunder heaps up, and lately, a heap of newfound profitability has gone down the tubes, too.
- One of this new crops of execs comes from the investment banking business. In a roundabout sort of way.
- Commodore is sitting on very powerful technology that could, in the hands of somebody competent to market it, make a pot load of money. Indeed, the company is almost uniquely positioned to take advantage of this week’s state-of-the-art in computer design, which just about requires the ability to make custom microchips to handle a variety of jobs, including reduce manufacturing cost.
- The market is advancing, quickly, while Commodore’s offerings have been sitting still, and this has been going on for a long time.
Takers? Anyone? Well, not just anyone - check that. Somebody, please, with capital to invest in taking up the slack in the Amiga’s development left by four years of CBM’s neglect. And PLEASE, somebody with expertise in marketing, promotion and customer support. It’d be nice if you’ve never made an empty promise, too, but the computer business is riddled with that sort of thing, and Amigoids are already accustomed to that treatment from CBM, so it won’t be anything new.
Oh, another few requests. Somebody with a good name.
The reward, of course, is a rabidly loyal band of Amiga owners, and the finest computer hardware technology ever to strike the computer market. You don’t have to worry about anybody having a bad opinion about the Amiga. Most people have still never heard of it, and those who have respect it, for the most part. As for Commodore, they can go away to someplace where the dollar exchange rates won’t bother them any, and market their 8-bit toys.
A few words of caution, too. First, buy only the Amiga technology and anything associated with it. Forget the 8-bits. Forget any game boxes you find stashed around the old warehouses, and by all means forget the clones. There are better marketed clones that aren’t as nicely made, but then again, there are better marketed COMPUTERS that are dinosaurs compared to the Amiga. Clone sellers need not apply, in other words. The Amiga is (thank Heaven) Not a Clone. But do get the bridge board technology. It’ll come in handy for clinching the myopic sheep who insist on Clone compatibility.
Second, be sure you get the Amiga Unix box. Clones are out, anyway, and Unix is in, and the Amiga will make a dandy platform on which to run Unix, particularly X-Windows, already available.
Sounds like a good deal from here. Buy a full-fledged, GENUINE multitasking computer that’s already been designed and has a nice software base. Throw some money at it, to improve screen resolutions, increase buss width, etc., and do a good marketing job. Presto! Wealth and happiness. What could be simpler! Why, if there were a few million smackers in the bank near here, I might get a crowbar and. . .